Raise the Bar
A new year of ministry is about to kick off and I’m raising my expectations. I’ve settled for less lately - from myself, others, and God himself - and I’m seeing the danger in it more clearly now. I’m capable of more. I want to be the very best I can be in every area of my life - as a husband/father/friend/coach/pastor… whatever. To do it, I need to raise my expectations.
Have you ever watched the high jump competition in the Olympics? It’s not a sport I typically follow, but a local guy (Derek Drouin, pictured above) was in contention at the last games so it became must see TV for me. The athletes, as you might expect, are incredible. The world record height is 2.45 metres (just over 8 feet). The best jumpers in the world can routinely clear over 2 metres. Meanwhile, If I jump over a crack in the pavement without falling I’m pretty proud of myself.
As I watched each round of the competition, something stuck out to me. No matter what height the bar was set to, the jumpers would just barely clear it. They always exerted just enough effort to get the job done. In the early rounds it was obvious that some of the jumpers were just going through the motions, unchallenged, doing just enough to get by.
I do the same all the time, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one.
I don’t want to clear the low bar. I don’t want to be OK with things being just OK. I want to shoot for the maximum height that I can reach. I want the ministries I’m leading to be as effective as possible and to reach every student we possibly can. I want to have the greatest impact for God’s kingdom that I can. I want God to be able to wring every last drip of potential out of my life while he keeps me here.So, I’ve got to raise the bar - on my students, my leaders, my God, and especially myself.
I’ve seen it consistently over my years in youth ministry - teens are capable of great things. Not only that, but many of them are eager to make an impact and looking for ways to do it. This year, I‘m going to do more to empower the students that I get to work with to lead their peers and change their world.
I too easily default to doing things myself. Sometimes it feels easier and more expedient to try to accomplish a task myself instead of handing it off. But, I’ve been blessed with a team of nearly 30 youth leaders with a wide range of gifts and talents. They volunteer because they care about students and are committed to helping our ministry. So, I want and need to take full advantage of that. Last year when I took some time off and left the ministry completely in the hands of my team I was reminded again that my role needs to be more and more about equipping resourcing, and encouraging my leaders and then getting out of their way.
I’ve settled for too little of the miraculous. I’ve set goals that required little faith. Too often, I’ve allowed my expectations to be guided by the practical, possible, and predictable - instead of by faith. It’s time again to remind myself that my God is in the miracle business that he is capable of doing far greater things than I could ever dream.
I can do better in many areas… honestly, every aspect of my life has room for improvement. But, I’m going to focus on two - my body and soul. By taking better care of myself physically and (more importantly) spiritually everything else will improve with it.